Renewable energy in Europe 2019 - Recent growth and knock-on effects

16 Dec 2019

Nele Renders

This report outlines the progress made in 2017 in the deployment of renewable energy sources (RES) in the European Union as a whole, and at country, market and technology level. The results confirm that the EU RES share has remained in line with the indicative trajectory designed to achieve the mandatory EU RES targets for 2020: a 20 % RES share in energy consumption and the sub-target of 10 % RES for transport. However, to achieve these objectives with certainty, further efforts to deploy renewable energy sources across the EU are needed, in particular given the rebound in final energy consumption in some EU Member States in recent years. The report also shows that the additional consumption of renewable energy sources throughout Europe since 2005, has had a number of side benefits: it enabled the EU to reduce its demand for fossil fuels with more than 12 % and the associated greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) with 10 %, than if renewable energy sources had remained at the same level as in 2005. For the effect on air pollutant emissions, the outcomes are mixed: the additional consumption of RES since 2005 led to decreases in the emissions of NOx and SO2, but to increases in the emissions of PM10, PM2,5 and VOCs, mainly due to the combustion of biomass. Besides calculations based on RES consumption data reported by Member States, the report also provides early estimates from the European Environment Agency (EEA) for all these developments in 2018.

In the final part, the global perspective is taken into account. It indicates that the EU transformed its energy production base between 2005 and 2017 at a speed which surpassed that of other world regions. Although the EU is still the world leader in sustainable energy capacity per capita, it was surpassed by China in terms of total installed capacity since 2013.

Prepared by: Ils Moorkens, Tom Dauwe, Anjana Das, Filippo Capizzi (VITO), Risto Juhana Saarikivi (CHMI) and Mihai Tomescu (EEA)

Published by: ETC/CME, December 2019, 97 pp.

Publication number: Eionet report ETC/CME 2019/8